Many of us came into adulthood with a clear foundation of what we were “supposed to do”. I think this was especially true for my generation. For many of us, it seemed as though there was just one path. That path, as I understood it, went like this. Go to college, get good grades, find a good “secure” corporate job, get married, buy a house, have a family, and save money so you can retire. Then when you retire, you can do all of those things you’ve been wanting to do your whole life.
Somewhere along that path, many of us wake up and realize that it’s just not working for us. Whether we chose a career that was a wrong fit, married someone with whom we weren’t compatible, or took on too much debt, many of us have experienced feeling stuck.
The easiest way to deal with this feeling of stuckness is to just keep on keepin’ on. Put on a happy face and pretend that everything’s okay.
As with most things, the easiest way isn’t always the best way. In her book, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, Bronnie Ware shares that the most common regret is that they didn’t have the courage to live a life true to themselves.
This regret resonates strongly with me because I lacked that same courage for most of my life. I was famous for saying, “when I retire, I’m gonna …” But in my everyday life, I did none of those things I was dreaming of. I bought into the lie that you suffer and struggle the first 60+ years of your life so that you can do what you want for the last 20.
But the truth is that none of us know how long we have. Any day could be our last. Aside from that, we were not put on this earth to be miserable. Sure, we all have to do things that we don’t enjoy from time to time. But we shouldn’t expect to be unhappy for 45 years while we wait for someday. Adulthood is a somewhat clumsy dance between enjoying each day while responsibly preparing for the future. It should never be one or the other.
Rewind to the year 2011 when I realized that this “supposed to do” life wasn’t working for me. I had sacrificed my health, my happiness, and relationships for a career that wasn’t taking me where I wanted to go. In a moment, I knew that I couldn’t keep doing this for another 30 years. I had placed all of my dreams on the back burner for someday. I realized that if I ever wanted to do these things, my life needed to change.
Over the next several years, my husband, Jer, and I built a foundation that allowed us the freedom to stop waiting for someday. That foundation was built with good health, supportive relationships, financial fitness, and personal growth.
While they might seem like four independent elements, they are all connected. We found that as we made progress in one area, the other three areas improved as well.
In lieu of having one 5,000-word post, I decided to break this into a series to make it more digestible and actionable. Unlike my series on financial fitness, I will post all six sections back to back. Over the next five weeks, I will dive deeper into each of the four parts of the foundation to freedom. The last post will wrap it all up with ideas to take action.
Here’s how we’ll build your foundation.
Part I – Building a Foundation to Freedom
Part II – Freedom through Good Health
Part III – Freedom through Supportive Relationships
Part IV – Freedom through Financial Fitness
Part V – Freedom through Personal Growth
Part VI – Tying it All Together and Taking Action